Using Autumn Leaves. 5 Ideas!

Even though leaf blowing is a chore, I actually enjoy it. It’s a simple, meaningful task, which can be done without much effort and has a satisfying result. Using the power of wind, feeling the kickback on the nozzle, seeing the leaves pile up one by one, onto an enormous pile. But then what?

Moving leaves from one place to another and actually disposing of them are two very different things. How do you go about it? Should you just throw them away?

I mean, that just seems like a waste of perfectly good leaves…

For years, I have been doing this wrong myself – I’ve just bagged them and off they went, into the trash can. What a mistake!

Leaves have some quite useful properties, such as their ability to hold moisture, insulate heat and non-negligible nutritional value. This makes them useful in many ways, of which I will discuss five.

A Word on Mulching

While most of the following tips do not require mulching nor vacuuming leaves, a leaf vacuum with a mulcher will definitely make your life easier and the following tips more applicable. Not only that your leaves will be vacuumed and bagged effortlessly, mulching also decreases their volume and lets leaves dry out easier, for further use. Have a look at our entire range of blower vacs and read about the different ways to mulch leaves.

Garnish Your Flower Beds

Picture of a flower bud

Leaves can be used as mulch and decoration for your flower beds

As mentioned above, leaves are great at retaining moisture and double as a heat insulator. Every year in nature, fallen leaves cover the soil and slowly decompose, helping preserve and fertilize whatever grows under them. So why not use nature tricks in your own garden?

We recommend adding a layer of leaves or leaf mulch on top of the soil of your flower beds. Lawns can be covered as well, though we recommend doing that with mulch.

After all, covering your lawn with leaves would defeat the point of leaf blowing or raking in the first place. However, keep in mind that mulch is not recommended as a substitute for soil. It’s only a garnish.

Composting Leaves

Picture of compost

Leaves can be used to make compost

Composting – the use of decomposed, organic material, for soil improvement, or even as a biofuel (opens in a new tab), has seen somewhat of a comeback in the past two decades. As any biodegradable material, leaves degrade to compost easily, which results in a healthy, environmentally friendly soil conditioner.

Adding this compost to your soil improves its properties and nutritional value, as does any synthetic fertilizer. However, compost is free and can be made in bulk, on your own yard.

How to go about it? Learn more about composting here (opens in a new tab).

Leaves Are Great for Storing Root Vegetables

You may have seen this trick at the farmer’s market, or at your favorite local organic store – root vegetables can be stored in dried leaves. This is not a modern invention, just for the sake of amusing shopping hipsters. Our ancestors have been doing this for millennia. Why? Protection, insulation and, of course, it also looks neat.

One of the ways to do it is by filling a wooden box or barrel with whole, dried leaves and inserting your vegetables separately in between their layers. Some sources (opens in a new tab) mention that leaves should be sprinkled with water, yet we recommend against this idea, to prevent mold.

Interior Insulation With Bagged Leaves

Picture of glass wool

Compact bags of leaves can serve as thermal insulators

Insulating sheds, coups or barns can be expensive, which means that most people don’t bother and just hope for the best.

However, to replace glass wool, a very easy and cheap insulation method is placing bagged leaves or leaf mulch around the walls of your interior, for cheap, but quite effective insulation (they keep the heat in, or out).

While we do not recommend filling your living room with bags of leaves, this method is perfect for the aforementioned chicken coups, barns and garden sheds, since chickens and shovels aren’t bothered by unaesthetic bags of leaves laying in the corner.

Make Your Own Scarecrow

Picture of a head of a scarecrow

You can swap straw for leaves to make your own scarecrow

Even though scarecrows have been shown to not actually scare off crows – in fact, crows are one of the smartest animals out there; scarecrows serve to this day as great decoration, and will look great in any garden. It is also a great DIY project, enjoyed by folk regardless of their age.

Traditionally, you would use hay as scarecrow filling, but there really is no reason to be picky about the whole business and use leaves instead!

If you’re not sure how to go about the whole scarecrow thing, fear not and refer to this guide (opens in a new tab).

Final Words

I hope this article will be both fun and helpful. I’ve encountered many stupid, or impractical ideas while researching this piece, which I’ve done my best to avoid including. The above-mentioned tips are solid, doable and actually useful.

In the end, those leaves are there for free, and you’ll have to do something with them anyways. So why wouldn’t you put them to good use?

What do you usually do with the dead leaves? Let us know in the comments below!


What can I do with dead leaves?

Leaves have some quite useful properties, such as their ability to hold moisture, insulate heat and non-negligible nutritional value. You can use dead leaves to garnish your flower beds, make compost, store root vegetables, insulate an interior, make a scarecrow, and use them in various craft or DIY activities.


Manager and editor of He worked over 10 years for a well-known global company manufacturing outdoor power equipment, before starting his own landscaping business.

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